Aug 15, 2012

On Anderson Cooper and the need for visibility

5 comments.

One of the biggest gay-related news that broke out in July was the official coming out of Anderson Cooper. Anderson Cooper is possibly one of CNN’s most well-known anchors and through an email he sent to his friend Andrew Sullivan and which the latter published with Cooper’s permission, he finally confirmed what many people in the industry know: that he is a gay man. And proud of it.

Cooper’s coming-out letter is one of the best such letters I have ever read. You can see how much thought he put into it and it very much reflects the level of professionalism that has made him one of the most successful people in the news industry today. In his letter, he lays out the reasons why he decided to come clean and why only now. I highly encourage you to read his letter for yourself, but here are some selected passages that I particularly like:

I’ve always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn’t matter. I’ve stuck to those principles for my entire professional career, even when I’ve been directly asked “the gay question,” which happens occasionally.

Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something - something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.

I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.

That last passage struck me in particular. He rightly states that societal acceptance of the LGBT community does not happen overnight and only happens when LGBT people become visible. Cooper does make a compelling case that we should aim to eventually come out of the closet in order to further the notion that PLUs are just like other (heterosexual) people in all aspects except for sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Does that mean that I will come out anytime soon? While some friends and family already know about my sexuality, I have decided to remain in the closet for now. While I understand that the more out PLUs there are the better will be society’s acceptance, the process of coming out—whether gradual or abrupt—is an intensely personal decision that depends upon one’s personal circumstances. So while a gay man in Manhattan should not have too much problem being out, a young teen in rural America would be better off being in the closet for a while.

Nobody should be forced to come out when he or she is not ready, no matter how beneficial it would be in the long term.

Aug 9, 2012

Lie Detector

2 comments.

The rain and flooding has been pretty crazy the past few days. I do hope that everyone is safe. In the meantime, here’s some comedy (with some funny gay-related jokes) to lighten up the mood. :-)

Aug 7, 2012

Preposition Tees

12 comments.

While browsing a microblogging website, I saw that a friend shared the following photo ad:

(The friend, who is straight, was asking his network of friends what a “power bottom” was. He knows what “top”, “versa”, and “bottom” meant but didn’t know that there was such a category as a “power bottom”.)

Would you dare wear any of the T-shirts above? More importantly, which shirt if ever? :-P

Anyway, I tried looking for more information about these intriguing T-shirts and only found the following BTS video:

Aug 4, 2012

XXX Olympiad

1 comment.

Unless you’re living under a rock, you should be aware by now that the Games of the XXX Olympiad is happening right now in London. Setting aside some of the notable highlights like Mr. Bean playing a part of the famous “Chariots of Fire” soundtrack, or the badminton scandal that led to the expulsion of 8 women athletes from the Games, or the fact that the Philippines has yet to end its 16-year medal drought, the most interesting story about the Games that I have read by far is this piece on ESPN about the raucous sex that happens at the Olympic Village.

Well, what do you expect when you put together a bunch of young very healthy and fit athletes full of energy far from home into a single location? Well, lot’s of physical exercise on the bed (and even off it). You could lose in the court but win some in the bedroom. Here are some highlights from the article:

Quickly the reality sinks in that the village is “just a magical, fairy-tale place, like Alice in Wonderland, where everything is possible,” says Carrie Sheinberg, an alpine skier at the ’94 Winter Games and a reporter for subsequent Olympics. “You could win a gold medal and you can sleep with a really hot guy.”

By the eve of the closing ceremonies, all of the events have wrapped, all bets are off and the home team often hosts one hell of a party. That was certainly the case in Sydney, where Australia’s baseball and women’s soccer teams threw a joint bash complete with a massive bonfire. “Who knew the village furniture could burn so well,” kids Alicia Ferguson, an Aussie footballer. “We did involve the fire wardens, who were very accommodating, and then we started hooking up around our very own Olympic Village bonfire.”

And is there same-sex action? ESPN hints at some:

At the 1976 Montreal Games, three-time Olympic diver and four-time gold medalist Greg Louganis [ed: he came out of the closet in 1995 during an interview with Oprah], appearing in his first Olympics at age 16, developed a kinship with the boys on the Soviet Union diving team and soon found himself partying in their rooms. “Once events were over, our entire diet was caviar, vodka and Russian champagne. It was crazy,” Louganis says. He was particularly struck by the Russians’ sense of sexual liberation. “Culturally, they’re more openly affectionate toward each other, which I just drank up, since I was still discovering who I was. But I had my eyes on one Soviet. I’d curl up in his lap; we’d hug and cuddle. I felt so protected.” It didn’t progress beyond that, Louganis says. “He was hooking up with one of the other male divers on the team” — not to mention married.

What about during the 2012 London Olympics? Well, the servers of the hugely popular gay hookup app Grindr crashed at about the same time athletes were arriving. This led to tabloid speculation that gay Olympic athletes overloaded the service although Grindr says that it was all just a coincidence:

“While we’d love to believe that the best-built men in the world all dressed up in Lycra and congregating in one place can generate a huge increase in Grindr traffic, we can say with confidence that the arrival of the Olympic teams had little or no effect on our server. The truth is that there are many factors that cause a technological service disruption.”

Finally here’s some athletic eye candy, er, sausage....

The hunk above is Swedish decathlete Bj√∂rn Barrefors. Unfortunately he’s not in the London Olympics. But, see more brief-dropping pictures of him. :-)